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You can make beer from nettles!
Stinging nettles are considered among most people to be weeds and are often torn out of people's gardens and thrown onto the compost heap. Most gardeners will tell you about how great nettles are for making amazing, organic compost that helps to grow beautiful flowers and tasty fruit and vegetables.
There are those among the population who know that nettles are edible and are very tasty. There are many recipes out there containing nettles. Nettles can be used instead of spinach in most recipes. Also, you can make a really tasty pesto out of stinging nettles.
"How can you eat stinging nettles?", you may ask. They sting you. "Wouldn't they hurt you?". They could hurt you if you eat them raw (although some people do eat them raw and there are places where they eat stinging nettles in a contest. The one who eats the largest number of raw nettles wins a trophy). If you dip your nettles into a pan of boiling water for a minute or two it destroys the hypodermic needles all down the nettle plant meaning that they cannot sting you any longer.
Stinging nettles contain quite a few medicinal properties and are great for increasing blood flow and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Few people know that nettles can be used to make a delicious beer, it is light, citrusy, and refreshing. Nettle beer has been around for a long time in Britain. The ancient Brits used nettles in beer brews as a bittering agent before hops were discovered. The recipe below uses simple, cheap, easy to get ingredients.
What stinging nettles look like
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1 Gallon of nettle beer
What you will need to make nettle beer
- 1kg stinging nettles, Pick the tips as they are the youngest and freshest part of the plant
- 4 ltr water
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 500g sugar, granulated
- 1 packet dried yeast, an ale yeast would be best, but bread yeast could be used in a pinch
How to make nettle beer
- Go out and carefully pick 1 kg of nettle tips. Wear heavy rubber gloves to protect your hands from nettle stings
- Rinse your nettle tips thoroughly to rid them of any insects and other contaminants. Place the nettles in a large saucepan with the water, lemon juice and sugar. Bring the pan to a boil then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes to dissolve the sugar and extract the flavour from the nettles.
- Allow the mixture to cool. Strain the mixture into a gallon-sized fermentor. Add the yeast packet. Shake the yeast into the brew.
- After about 24 hours you should see bubbles forming in the vessel. Leave the vessel for about 2 weeks until fermentation has slowed.
- Siphon the brew into bottles. Use swing-top glass bottles or plastic bottles that used to contain carbonated beverages. Pour a teaspoon of sugar into each bottle for the yeast to eat. The yeast will eat the sugar and create more alcohol and more carbon dioxide. This chemical reaction will carbonate the beer, so you will end up with a light fizzy beer. The beer needs to sit in the bottle for at least 2 weeks before it can be chilled and then drunk.
- Enjoy your refreshing nettle beer.
If you do not want to make an alcoholic drink from the nettles that you painstakingly collected you could always make a nettle tea.
Nettles are filled with a huge amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are good for you. Making tea from nettle leaves will help transfer those vitamins and minerals to you and will assist in keeping you in good health. Nettles have been used for their medicinal properties for many years and have been used to aid several conditions including, inflammation and joint and muscle pain, blood sugar levels, and some bacterial infections.
Making nettle tea is easy.
All you need is:
1/2 cup of fresh nettle leaves
1 cup water
In a small saucepan place the nettle leaves and the water. Bring to the boil and steep the leaves for 5 to 6 minutes. Strain the leaves out of the tea. The tea will taste similar to a vegetable broth (which is another way to use nettles that you have on hand, add them to a vegetable broth for even more flavor). Drink the tea as you would any other tea. Sit back and relax
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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